Visitors to Melbourne Airport may have been exposed to COVID-19 after a man who contracted the virus in Perth flew home this week and tested positive on Friday. It’s the first case of community transmission in Victoria in 55 days. The Department of Health listed the man’s Qantas flight QF778 from Perth to Melbourne on Wednesday, April 21 as a high risk exposure site.
Melbourne Airport Terminal One, between 6.30pm and 7.30pm on Wednesday, April 21, was listed as a tier two exposure site. “Anyone who was at this location during this time must isolate, get tested, and remain isolated until they get a negative result,” it was advised. “While the individual returned directly to his home in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, he did pass through the airport.”
Other locations – including those within the airport – may be classified as exposure sites based on continued investigations. Anyone on the Qantas flight must isolate, get tested, and remain isolated for 14 days – unless otherwise formally advised by the Department of Health. Health officials are contacting more than 250 people on the flight.
Meanwhile, NSW health teams were deployed to Sydney Airport on Friday evening – moments after the three-day Perth lockdown was announced – to start screening flights from Western Australia. Officials will identify any passengers who had attended any of the venues of concern outlined by WA Health.
“People who have attended any of those venues are asked to immediately get tested and self-isolate and follow the evolving public health advice,” NSW Health said in a statement. “People arriving in Sydney from Western Australia from midnight tonight must complete a declaration which confirms they have not attended a venue of concern.
“These declaration forms will be available on the Service NSW website later this evening.” On Friday, victorian Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed the man contracted the virus while quarantining at the Mercure Hotel in Perth, where he stayed for 14 days.
He was notified by authorities immediately after landing in Melbourne that he was in close contact with a positive case in an adjacent room at the hotel, where there was an outbreak. “Obviously, there are going to be several primary close contacts on that flight,” Mr. Foley said.
“All of those people are being contacted by our contact tracing team and will need to isolate for the full 14 days.” The asymptomatic man began isolating immediately after being notified he won as close contact with WA authorities.